These Are The Most & Least Stressful Cities in The World

Where you live shouldn't be adding to the stress in your life.

RUBEN M RAMOS/Shutterstock

Life is full of stressors, whether it's work, dating, or something else. But where you live can also be a contributing factor.

VAAY, a "CBD and well-being brand," put together a Least and Most Stressful Cities Index 2021, which ranks cities by how stressful their environments are for inhabitants because, according to a statement, "we know the effect someone’s environment can have on their mental health."

The company had researchers look at 15 factors that contribute to stress in 500 cities around the world, from the unemployment rate to traffic, noise pollution, COVID response, safety, gender equality, healthcare access, and weather, narrowing it down to a list of 100 cities it said “were chosen for their global comparability” and reliable data.

Several major American cities made the list, all on the more stressful end of the spectrum. The least stressful city to live in is Reykjavik, Iceland, while the most stressful place to live in is Mumbai, India.

New York City came in at number 75 on the list, which is high but perhaps lower than expected. Wellington, New Zealand, which was recently named one of the most liveable cities in the world, came in at number five, with another extremely liveable city, Melbourne, Australia, right behind it. 

Here are the top 20 least stressful cities in the world:

  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Innsbruck, Austria
  • Hanover, Germany
  • Graz, Austria
  • Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Cologne, Germany
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Stockholm, Sweden


And here are the top 20 most stressful cities to live in:

  • Mumbai, India
  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • Manila, Philippines
  • New Delhi, India
  • Baghdad, Iraq
  • Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Karachi, Pakistan
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Bogota, Colombia
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Tehran, Iran
  • Lima, Peru
  • Dakar, Senegal
  • Shanghai, China
  • Beirut, Lebanon
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Nairobi, Kenya

“Our objective with this study is to show what cities can achieve for their citizens through effective governance, robust environmental policies, and well-resourced social welfare systems. The aim is not to single out the cities which may lag behind in any of these areas, but rather highlight those which are leading examples of what can be done to improve the wellbeing of their inhabitants,” Finn Age Hänsel, VAAY co-founder, said in a press release.

While no US cities were listed in the top 20 on either end, the least stressful US city is Houston, at number 25, with Seattle at 39, Chicago at 40, Boston at 43, Miami at 44, and Los Angeles at 45. New York City placed at number 75, and San Francisco at 64.

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.